Is Nirvana the Most Cover-able Band of All Time?

I wonder how many punks, metalheads, and weirdo rockers of all stripes consider Nirvana their gateway drug into rock music. For a band that consistently jocked underground legends like Meat Puppets and Wipers, they sure had a knack for turning those influences into memorable, sing-along anthems that exposed a pre-internet public to the drained, midtempo then-current sound of the Pacific Northwest rock underground. I can’t even count how many acquaintances of mine have said that Nevermind was what got them into rock and roll. It makes sense, then, that live Nirvana covers are in plentiful high school talent shows, backwater town dive bars, and even from respectable musicians playing massive venues.

This is a great cover

This is not

Other rock bands have been as popular as Nirvana (Guns N’ Roses, KISS, Metallica, etc.) but those bands’ songs usually require a fair amount of instrumental proficiency to be performed at all. On the other hand, few Nirvana songs are difficult to play from a technical standpoint. That means both that kids just learning their instrument can jam along to the songs, and that a skilled band can work out a suitable cover version in just one or two practices. For evidence, look no further than 2015’s Whatever Nevermind, a compilation released by Robotic Empire and featuring most of my favorite bands covering Nevermind, in original album track order.

I meant to get around to writing about this specific comp last year, but a new 7″ from Arizona’s primary sludge export Goya finally gave me the kick in the pants to talk about dope Nirvana covers. To me the only weak point on Whatever Nevermind was Circa Survive‘s too-delicate treatment of “Drain You”, but Goya’s version stomps mightily and adds just a touch of beard to a satisfying true-to-source cover.

You can preorder this 7″ and the rest of Goya’s catalog at their Bandcamp page. (FYI their bandcamp url is marijuana.bandcamp.com, so you already know you like them.)

In this comment section –  What is your favorite Nirvana cover? For how many reasons was Nirvana the greatest band ever? Is Nirvana the most overrated garbage you have heard in your life? Did Nirvana kill metal in the 90’s? If you responded “yes” to the previous question, are you Scott Ian on a VH1 Classic rockumentary circa 2008? ALL your shitty opinions are welcome here – that’s why this is the Toilet!

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Published on: September 16, 2016

Filled Under: New Stuff

Views: 780

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    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      I need to check them out more.

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

    What is your favorite Nirvana cover? Don’t have one.

    For how many reasons was Nirvana the greatest band ever? They’re not, obviously.

    Is Nirvana the most overrated garbage you have heard in your life? They are definitely overrated.

    Did Nirvana kill metal in the 90’s? No, and I still don’t understand that argument. That’s a multi-faceted question anyway.

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Hahaha. Perfect!

    • Anyone who thinks anything killed metal in the 90s is silly. Metal was a trend in the 80s, and the trend moved on

      • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

        Exactly. And the death metal trend just became over saturation.

        • I don’t mind that it became over saturated. I just didn’t like where it was going. That whole melodeath movement became boring really fast for me.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Yeah, more watered down and easily accessible.

          • Cough cough, In Flames.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Precisely.

          • Howard Dean

            Tyree and King Shit plz! Siren Charms was the best album of 2014! In Flames were the saviors of death metal in the late 90’s-early 00’s, just as Ghost are the saviors of rock music in the ’10’s!

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            HAHAHAHAHAHA. BYAHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

          • Haha! You say Ghost, and all I hear is Epitome Of Darkness!!!

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hA6rLKknO7U

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Perfect.

          • Howard Dean

            Honest question for all of the Terlet: When did Ghost become “Bud Light Stage” headliners on Monster Energy Drink tours? I saw this flyer and couldn’t believe it. I guess they are waaaaaay bigger than I thought (I’m still stuck in the Opus Eponymous days of four years ago, I guess).

            https://www.facebook.com/1008445009270982/photos/a.1058579000924249.1073741827.1008445009270982/1130666977048784/?type=3&theater

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Wow. And Avenged Sevenfold is above Slayer. Wow, though not surprising.

          • Bro, do you even Volbeat?

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            God damn, that dude’s vocals are bad. Bland radio rock, blah, blah, blah…..

          • They played at Metallica’s Orion Music years back with Ghost actually. So many awful bands. It was rad to see Ride the Lighting played live in its entirety though.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            That is pretty cool!

          • I lost my shit when James completely struggled his way through the cleans on Escape.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Hahahaha. That fucking song sucks anyway. Such a pimple on what would be a perfect album.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            KSOFM plz! You know Escape is a good song!

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Duuuuuuuuuuude, such a shitty song. Actually that would be a good post. What “perfect” albums were made unperfect by shitty tracks? Example, Black Sabbath’s Vol. 4. Get rid of Changes and FX, and that album is fucking tits!

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            I’m with you on that one!

          • W.

            I think we did a Whiff of the Week on this topic, and HD got angry about folks dissing Escape.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Hahaha.

          • Howard Dean

            Don’t you be denigrating Escape again!

          • W.

            Hahahahaha. This all played out so nicely.

          • Howard Dean

            I unironically like “Escape.” Every part of that album is perfect to me (even the cheese on “Fade to Black”).

            No ragrets.

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            Seconded!

          • Howard Dean

            BYAH!

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            That song just always rubbed me the wrong way. Too happy, uplifting, etc.

          • Lacertilian

            I’ve never hated it per se, but always felt it was pretty much the weakest track on the first 4 albums.

          • Ayreonaut

            that dude irritates the everliving shit out of me. he sounds like a retarded danzig.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I wish I was going to this but I’ll be in Scranton this weekend.

          • What the hell are you doing in my neck of the woods?

          • W.

            Looking for you.

          • GAH!

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            HAHAHAHAHA. DERP.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I’m going to a music festival at Montage Mountain. Willie Nelson and Neil Young are headlining.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            Fuck, that sounds more brutal than a Dying Fetus show…..

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            I’m sure sitting though the other acts will be brutal but I’ve seen Neil Young five times before this and he always put on an awesome show. Never seen Willie Nelson live but I’m sure he’ll be good.

          • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

            And stoned.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Guaranteed. I’m also sure most of the crowd will be stoned.

          • Ayreonaut

            last time i saw neil young he rocking so hard he knocked an amp over and a stagehand had to direct him away from breaking more stuff

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            It’s going to be so good. I hope he plays Old Man again or Down By The River.

          • Abradolf Lincler

            lolol Avenged Seven plays after Slayer

          • Pierre Generic

            Jeez, even getting Joey back in the band can’t get Anthrax anything more than a second band opening slot on a shitty dudebro festival. Somewhere John Bush is laughing his ass off.

          • Janitor Jim Duggan

            Well that’s on the money except for the part about In Flames being saviors of death metal.

      • FUCK TRENDS!!! If anything kills anything off, it’s the laziness of idiots, jumping at every opportunity they can to hop into whatever’s cool at the time.

        • Joaquin Stick

          This is the best ideology.

        • Señor Jefe El Rosa
          • Ayreonaut

            whoa now boi gawdamn u best get ur facts straight, nuthin killed pantera, not even the death of our lord dime himself… his spirit is living on in every hellyeah performance and pinched harmonic played off a dean so why dont you go on and walk on home boy, damn

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            My video was a response to Jimmy’s “FUCK TRENDS” Pantera is THE GREAT SOUTHERN TRENDKILL, no disrespect meant

          • Ayreonaut

            getcha pull

          • Señor Jefe El Rosa

            PULLS GOT!

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      They didn’t kill metal. They killed off a lot of glam metal bands though. At least CMC International was around as a safe haven for classic rock and hair metal artists back then. Technically speaking though Nirvana did not kill anything off that didn’t deserve to be killed off.

  • Unembarrassed Weird Al fan here, so my vote goes to “Smells Like Nirvana”.

    • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

      I liked him a lot when I was ages 7-9. My favorite parody is easily, Another One Rides the Bus. Classic.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Eg7JYDrYCI

      • Dudes a hell of a good musician.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          He really is actually.

      • I haven’t followed his career closely in a decade, but he did release some funny-ass music videos last year (you know, funny to someone of our age group)

    • Howard Dean
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  • Señor Jefe El Rosa
    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      This cover blew my mind when I first heard it.

    • This is great, love the blues interpretation.

    • I love Charles Bradley. Got to see him live a few months ago!

      • Señor Jefe El Rosa

        Very cool!

  • Pentagram Sam

    Off the top of my head I guess my fav cover of a Nirvana song is SOD doing Territorial Pissings on the Live at “Budokan” album.

    If Metallica is THE gateway to alot of metal, then Nirvana is THE gateway to distorted loud music. They were to me and when I got my first metal cd (Metallica And Justice For All), it slotted in next to the three Nirvana cds (Nevermind, Incesticide, In Utero) and STP’s Purple that was the cd collection. So shit, they actually are one of the things in my life still that predates metal for me and there’s like maybe two other things that do that. Simpsons and The Dark Tower.

    The only thing Nirvana “Killed” was shitty buttrock 80’s glam metal. Well, shucks, I reckon I can’t put on guy liner and start tapping my way into a record contract ya’ll. Too bad I dun permed mah hair already. It’d be like if some band came along and wiped out nu-metal in the nineties. The only ones affected would be shitty bands anyway.

    Thrash was almost close to a breakout, but by that time (1992 / 1993) the big bands were starting to groove up anyway. Death Metal sure as shit wasn’t suffering.

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      I would like to second your SOD pick.

    • RJA

      The only thing Nirvana “Killed” was shitty buttrock 80’s glam metal. Well, shucks, I reckon I can’t put on guy liner and start tapping my way into a record contract ya’ll. Too bad I dun permed mah hair already. It’d be like if some band came along and wiped out nu-metal in the nineties. The only ones affected would be shitty bands anyway.

      Preach brother, preach!

    • Joaquin Stick

      Speaking of TDT, I just started my second reading. About halfway through book one and liking it a lot more this time around. I have a feeling that my preferences are going to totally flip.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      There’s a problem with your theory. Though everything is basically correct you’re forgetting most bands that were considered outdated had no chance of becoming big again when grunge hit. A lot of bands from the eras I love most were picked up by CMC International thankfully. They were truly the saviors of bands who were going to be left on the ash heap of history due to grunge such as Yes, Molly Hatchet, Styx and Little Feat.

  • Baptists cover of Tourettes rules my butt and it rules your butt too. Raise your butt and get ruled in the butt.
    http://youtu.be/NAbGgvclAUs

    • Señor Jefe El Rosa

      my butt is raised

    • This drummer absolutely kills. I can’t get into the music much, but this fucker can play.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ovHYSWYpQCs

      • He’s almost too good to be playing in a hardcore, but he definitely makes his presence known. Gotta catch Baptists live next time they come through.

        • I would see this band for the drummer alone. Seriously, this guy dominates.

          • The thought of him playing in a grind band greatly arouses me, hope he does that at some point.

          • That would be insane. I could see him doing a Nasum type band and absolutely crush it.

    • RJA

      Tourettes is a great track – fact.

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=quPZc5i6Y_s

      • Howard Dean

        Satanic Ripper is a quintessential South American band name. Savage stuff.

        • RJA

          what’s their name? … Satanic Ripper …..check.
          and where are they from? … South America ……check.
          I’m in.

      • Waynecro
  • Ayreonaut

    No. I hate nirvana. That is all.

  • Abradolf Lincler

    i hate nirvana something crazy. my fav cover is another by Thou tho
    https://youtu.be/SXxXHbvbqno

  • Nirvana was THE gateway band to all rockers in Venezuela in the 90s. Since I was a baby when they were big here and there, I didn’t crossed their boom, but the records, after Cobain’s death Nevermind and In Utero were one of the mandatory records to listen over here.

    To be fair, I never liked Nirvana and I tried, just to please my cousins namedropping. I never understood their music and it lacked all the things I now crave for in my daily listenings.

    I appreciate your insight on this, Pumpkin: “those bands’ songs usually require a fair amount of instrumental
    proficiency to be performed at all. On the other hand, few Nirvana songs
    are difficult to play from a technical standpoint. That means both that
    kids just learning their instrument can jam along to the songs, and
    that a skilled band can work out a suitable cover version in just one or
    two practices.”

    • Maik Beninton™

      Same here, all rockers get their cred with Nirvana and Guns’N Roses.

  • Janitor Jim Duggan

    You all know my opinions on Nirvana. I can rightfully say they didn’t kill metal though. They killed shitty bands like Hericane Alice, Britny Fox and Pretty Boy Floyd though.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    Love Nirvana. Love ’em love ’em love ’em. Though, that said I don’t listen to them as much these days as I do other alternative rock bands of the same sort of era or older bands that inspired them. Part fatigue, but also Nirvana don’t scratch the same itch as say, Pixies or Sonic Youth or Jesus Lizard or whatever and I have those itches more. Nirvana were absolutely a gateway for me, one of the first serious rock bands I ever heard, first subconsciously then through dedicated listening. Can’t comment on whether they killed metal in the 90’s as I think you really had to have been aware of what was going on at that time. Related to that though I’ve long argued against people who say things like “grunge killed fun rock music” because I’ve heard from people who were around then that grunge was actually a really fun time. I’m not too familiar with covers of Nirvana tunes (will listen to ones posted when I’m home from work), but I did really like one of Something in the Way from Russian metallic hardcore type band Moro Moro Land.

    • Janitor Jim Duggan

      I hate Nirvana but not for the reasons you guys would expect. I hate them because they’re not good. Screaming Trees and Mudhoney are good. Nirvana is the Sex Pistols of the grunge movement. They’re extremely overrated and people love them anyway.

      • Rape Me JJD.

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          I stand by my statement. I cannot tolerate Nirvana but I also don’t really listen to grunge much. I prefer music that I enjoy to listen to. I can barely listen to prog anymore because of my attention span.

          • RJA

            “I prefer music that I enjoy to listen to.”
            JJD, you crack me up man – don’t ever change.

        • King Shit of Fuck Mountain

          HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. FUCK!

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        How exactly is Nirvana the Sex Pistols of the grunge movement?

        • Janitor Jim Duggan

          There’s a reason for my opinion: There was so many better bands in the movement but Nirvana is seen as the face of grunge like Sex Pistols are seen as the face of UK punk. The Sex Pistols were basically been the Monkees of punk and that’s the only difference.

  • Eliza

    I’m not a huge fan of Nirvana, even when it comes to grunge, there are banda that I like better, but I do like some their music. Their music isn’t complex or intricate, but it can be very meaningful. I find them a little overrated, but I can see why they have become such a beloved band.

  • Count_Breznak

    They were ok for the time when they were active back in..I guess the equivalent to highschool ? There was a whole lot of worse shit that people played. It pretty much was the lowest common denominator for everyone halfway interested in music involving guitars. And stoners.
    Didn’t care much about them back then, never bought any releases, and that didn’t change.

  • BobLoblaw

    You are all welcome.
    https://youtu.be/u-dGX9DQXAs

  • Max

    In retrospect this is probably the lamest, most elitist thing to claim – but looking back, I reckon I was probably the first person in my high school who knew who Nirvana were.

    It was quite shocking, in the space of a year (so in other words I wasn’t THAT early to the party) to see this completely unheard-of band in a resolutely non-mainstream music genre be known about and listened to by everybody in my high school and be the biggest band in rock at that point.

    • I’ve always wondered how mind-blowing it was for people aware of Bleach to see “Smells Like Teen Spirit” explode all over MTV.